Europe completes historic comeback to win Ryder Cup

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Europe completes historic comeback to win Ryder Cup

MEDINAH, Ill. -- Erasing some of their worst Ryder Cup memories, the Europeans wore the image of Seve Ballesteros on their sleeves and played their hearts out Sunday at Medinah to match the greatest comeback in history and head home with that precious gold trophy.

Europe got its payback for Brookline, when the Americans roared back from the same 10-6 deficit. This rally was even more remarkable, carried out before a raucous American crowd that began their chants of "USA!" some three hours before the first match got under way.

Jose Maria Olazabal squeezed his eyes and fought back tears when Martin Kaymer holed a 6-foot par putt to beat Steve Stricker and give Europe the point it needed to keep the cup. This was the first Ryder Cup since Ballesteros, the soul of European golf in this event, died in May 2011 of a brain tumor. Olazabal wanted his team to wear navy blue, Seve's favorite color, and added a clever touch -- his iconic silhouette on the sleeves of their shirts.

"This one is for all of Europe," Olazabal said. "Seve will always be present with this team. He was a big factor for this event for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing. And I think they did."

Tiger Woods missed a 3-foot par putt on the 18th hole, and then conceded a par to Francesco Molinari of about that length to halve their match. That extra half-point made it a clear-cut win for Europe, 14-13.

Woods and Stricker, the anchors in the lineup, didn't win a single match at Medinah.

Ian Poulter was the first to embrace Olazabal, which was only fitting.

It was Poulter who gave Europe hope Saturday evening when he made five straight birdies to turn a loss into a win and swing momentum in Europe's favor. Poulter was up to his fist-pumping, eye-bulging tricks again on the final day, winning the last two holes in his match against U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

And he had plenty of help. Europe's top five players in the lineup all won, including Rory McIlroy, who was lucky to be playing. McIlroy thought his match was at 12:25 p.m. -- it was listed in Eastern time, not Central -- and needed a police escort to get to the course with 10 minutes to spare. Then, he came up with key birdies to hand Keegan Bradley his first loss of the week.

The biggest match might have belonged to Justin Rose. He was on the verge of losing to Phil Mickelson when Rose holed a 12-foot par putt to halve the 16th, made a 35-foot birdie putt from the back of the 17th green to win the hole, and then closed out Mickelson with a 12-foot birdie on the last hole.

Six of the 12 matches went to the 18th hole on Sunday. The Americans won only one of them.

The Americans also rallied from a four-point deficit to win in 1999 at Brookline. This was different, though. The Americans won big in those early matches. At Medinah, so many of them could have gone either way.

It was so close, so tense, that either side could have won the Ryder Cup down to the very end.

Stricker made an 8-foot par putt on the 18th, and Kaymer faced a par putt from 6 feet to win the match. If he missed, the Americans would get a half-point, and Woods was leading 1-up over Molinari and in the middle of the 18th fairway.

Kaymer, a former No. 1 and major champion who has struggled all year, poured it in the middle and the celebration was on.

He could barely speak at this point, not so much from pure emotion but having to scream over the crowd behind him. Players were hugging and crying, and the small European contingent that had been drowned out all week was serenading themselves with what has become the theme song of the Ryder Cup.

"Ole, ole, ole, ole," they sang merrily, even as the teams prepared for the closing ceremony.

Europe now has won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups, and even more remarkable about this comeback is that it did it on the road.

Davis Love III became the first U.S. captain to sit every player at least once before Sunday, wanting them to be fresh for the decisive day. Instead, the Americans faltered at the end -- especially Jim Furyk and Stricker, two of his captain's picks.

"The plan worked the first two days," he said. "It just didn't work today."

The only U.S. points came from Dustin Johnson, who went 3-0 in this Ryder Cup, Zach Johnson and unheralded Jason Dufner.

"We're all kind of stunned," Love said. "We know what it feels like now from the '99 Ryder Cup. It's a little bit shocking. We were playing so well, we figured it didn't matter how we sent them out there. We got a couple of matches flipped there in the middle that cost us."

Love thought all along the Ryder Cup would be decided in the ninth match by Dufner. It was most appropriate that Europe won the cup thanks to Kaymer.

Kaymer gave German golf some redemption from Kiawah Island in 1991, when countryman Bernhard Langer missed a par putt from about the same length that allowed the Americans to win.

"It's a feeling I never had before," Kaymer said. "On Friday, I sat down with Bernhard and talked a little bit about the Ryder Cup because my attitude was not the right one. But now I know how important the Ryder Cup is."

It means everything to Europe, and it showed.

They didn't have a home crowd to rally them, relying instead on the silence.

"Last time it was done, it was the American team in America," Lee Westwood said after closing out Matt Kuchar in 16 holes. "This would be against all odds. This would be the greatest comeback in the Ryder Cup -- ever."

And it was a collapse the Americans won't soon forget. Just 24 hours earlier, they had a 10-4 lead with two team matches still on the course -- they were ahead in one of them, while Woods and Stricker were closing in on the other. It's hard to believe they would only win 3 points the rest of the way.

Europe came out fast, and for McIlroy, that started at his hotel.

He was leisurely heading out of the hotel -- thinking that his tee time was an hour later than it was -- when he got a frantic call to tell him his match was in 25 minutes. McIlroy was lucky to run into the police, who helped him get to Medinah with enough time to change his shoes, take a few putts and head to the tee box.

He never trailed in his match, making two straight birdies late to knock off Bradley.

"It's my own fault," McIlroy said. "If I let down these 11 other boys and vice captains and captains this week, I would never forgive myself. I'm just obviously happy to get the point and help the cause out a little bit today."

Everyone pitched in.

Luke Donald, who makes Chicago his home and had a small share of gallery support, overwhelmed Bubba Watson despite being some 50 yards behind him off the tee. Paul Lawrie, returning to the Ryder Cup after a 13-year absence, had the shortest match of the day against FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker. Poulter outlasted Simpson when the U.S. Open champion hit into a bunker on the 17th and made bogey, and then hit well long on the 18th when he needed a birdie to halve the match.

Still, the key point might have been delivered by Rose.

Mickelson surged ahead with a birdie on the 14th and still had a 1-up lead on the 17th. Behind the green, Mickelson hit a chip that looked like it might go in until the last turn. He was certain to make par. Rose drained his 35-footer to square the match, then finished off the birdie-birdie finish to a point Europe wasn't expecting.

"I was shaking a little bit and I said to myself, 'Rosey, this is what the whole week could come down to for you,'" he said. "Coming off the green here, I've looked down on my left sleeve, and that's the kind of thing Seve would have done for sure."

Jack Nicklaus first suggested in 1977 that all of Europe be included in the Ryder Cup, which brought the great Ballesteros into the matches. He was determined to prove that Europeans were equal to the Americans, and they have shown to be every bit of that over the last three decades.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

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Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Urlacher to be featured in new weekly Bears show beginning Thursday, September 15

Former Bears defensive end standout Brown to join network’s “Bears Pre/Postgame Live” coverage team beginning this season

COMCAST SPORTSNET ALSO ANNOUNCES ITS COMPREHENSIVE ON-AIR/DIGITAL 2016 CHICAGO BEARS/NFL SEASON COVERAGE LINE-UP

“Pro Football Weekly” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM

“United Bears Recap” (Season Premiere): Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM

“Bears Huddle presented by Verizon” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 4:30 PM

“Bears Blitz presented by XFINITY” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 8 at 4:30 PM

“3 and Out” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+

“Real Fantasy” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM

 “BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 11:00 AM

“BEARS HALFTIME LIVE presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois” (Live stream Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11

“BEARS POSTGAME LIVE presented by State Farm” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 3:00 PM

“SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle w/Dave Wannstedt, presented by Ankin Law” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM

RETURN: “The Lance Briggs Show (Season Premiere): Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM

NEW: “The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM

“Chicago Huddle” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM

CSNChicago.com to deliver 24/7 Bears coverage all season long featuring Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin

Details on new “Bears Classics” specials coming soon

Chicago, IL (August 30, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the regional home for the most comprehensive on-air and digital coverage of the Chicago Bears, has announced Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker BRIAN URLACHER, along with former Bears defensive end standout ALEX BROWN, will be joining CSN as part of the network’s massive line-up of Bears programming for the 2016 NFL season.

Urlacher, who spent all 13 seasons of his storied career in a Bears uniform, which earned him numerous honors including NFC Defensive Player of the Year and eight Pro Bowl nods, will be featured in a brand new weekly Bears show this season entitled The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE airing Thursday nights at 10:30 PM beginning September 15.  Urlacher will be joined by host Mark Schanowski and fellow analysts, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, to discuss the team’s next game and break down the match-up from a defensive, offensive, and head coaching standpoint.

Brown, who spent eight of his nine NFL seasons with the Bears amassing a career total of 45.5 sacks, joins CSN’s signature Bears game day coverage as a studio analyst on BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer and BEARS POSTGAME LIVE presented by State Farm, beginning with the team’s 2016 NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 against the Houston Texas.

“We couldn’t be more pleased and excited to have two enormously popular and well-respected former Bears join our team beginning this season,” said Kevin Cross, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Senior Director of News & Original Content.  “The addition of Brian and Alex to our overall Bears coverage team, featuring numerous NFL experts, once again showcases our year-round commitment and desire to deliver the most comprehensive coverage of the Bears to our viewing audience.”

In addition, Comcast SportsNet Chicago has also announced its complete on-air/online line-up of Bears and additional pro football related programming/coverage for the upcoming season.  Please note the following on-air and online details:

BEARS GAME DAY PROGRAMMING… 

BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer – Beginning Sunday, September 11 prior to the Chicago Bears 2016 NFL season opener against the Houston Texans at 11:00 AM CT, Comcast SportsNet kicks off its Bears game day coverage with Bears Pregame Live presented by Meijer.  Now in its fourth season, this one-hour pre-game show – the ONLY live, local Bears pre-game show on Chicago television – provides fans with the very latest game day news, player updates, a detailed X’s and O’s game preview breakdown and analysis, along with numerous on-field pre-game reports.  Bears Pregame Live is hosted by Chris Boden featuring expert analysis from former Bears linebacker/seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller, the new addition of former Bears defensive end standout Alex Brown and CSNChicago.com Bears “Insider” John “Moon” Mullin.  Plus, SportsNet Central’s Bears beat reporter Kip Lewis will provide additional pre-game coverage from the field with up-to-the-minute game day information. 

BEARS HALFTIME LIVE presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois – Also returning for its fourth season, debuting Sunday, September 11, will be Bears Halftime Live, a special “live-stream” exclusive that fans can view on CSNChicago.com & ChicagoBears.comBears Halftime Live features Boden and Miller, who will breakdown the first half of every game focusing on the key plays/game moments that had the greatest impact during the first 30 minutes of action, along with their thoughts on precisely what the Bears need to focus on for the remainder of each contest. 

BEARS POST GAME LIVE presented by State Farm – Immediately following the Bears-Texans NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 (approx. 3:00 PM on CSN), Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm returns as THE destination for fans to hear from the experts who played the game, along with their always-entertaining, no-holds-barred take on the day’s events.  Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm is a 90-minute post-game show hosted by Boden and features detailed post-game analysis from Briggs, Miller & Brown.  In addition to the spirited banter from the stars of the show, Bears Postgame Live also showcases the live post-game press conferences with coaches and players from both teams.  Lewis & Mullin will also provide immediate post-game interviews with Bears players inside & outside the locker room.  Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm can be seen on Comcast SportsNet following every Bears game this season with replays airing regularly throughout the season on Sunday nights and Monday afternoons. 

WEEKLY BEARS/NFL PROGRAMMING…

UNITED BEARS RECAP – Comcast SportsNet is the place for Bears fans to watch the official team press conference featuring head coach John Fox.  Hosted by Boden and former Bears offensive lineman/veteran Chicago sports personality Dan Jiggetts, United Bears Recap will go to Halas Hall each week to hear from the Bears head coach, along with additional Bears players/coaches.  The show will also air game highlights and viewers can also look forward to additional United Bears Recap content on CSNChicago.com.  The one-hour United Bears Recap makes its 2016 debut on Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM with a special “season preview” edition with weekly premiere airing to take place on Mondays at 4:30 PM throughout the entire Bears season.

BEARS HUDDLE presented by Verizon – Every Wednesday at 4:30 PM beginning September 7, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with a preview of the team’s next opponent on Bears Huddle.  This one-hour show, hosted by Boden and Jiggetts, features weekly interviews with Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.  Additional content via team updates and interviews will be provided by Lewis and Mullin.  To go along with numerous game highlights, Bears Huddle will also provide a multitude of key stats for all categories and will feature in-depth player match-up analysis for every upcoming game.  Fans can also interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

BEARS BLITZ presented by XFINITY – Every Thursday at 4:30 PM beginning September 8, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with even more in-depth game previews and analysis on Bears Blitz.  This one-hour show also features the same talent line-up and similar show format as presented in Bears Huddle and will include interviews with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and additional Bears players.  Fans can once again interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

THE HARD COUNT with BRIAN URLACHER, presented by RESTORE – CSN proudly presents the network on-air debut of one of the most popular players in Bears history as The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE premieres on Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM.  Featuring the eight-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker and former NFC Defensive Player of the Year, Urlacher will be joined each week by host Mark Schanowski and additional panelists, which include former Bears standout QB/Bears Pre-Post Game Live analyst Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt.  This new, weekly, half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, featuring the prospective from a defensive (Urlacher), offensive (Miller), and coaching (Wannstedt) standpoint.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Urlacher and the crew, along with additional special feature segments.   Weekly premiere airings of The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE will take place regularly on Thursday nights at 10:30 PM.

THE LANCE BRIGGS SHOW – Bears fans can also look forward to the return of The Lance Briggs Show, featuring host Pat Boyle and seven-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs.  This half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, including a discussion about all the key plays from the team’s previous contest.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Briggs, along with the popular, two-minute “Hurry Up” segment with Boyle firing off a multitude of questions to Briggs.   The season premiere of The Lance Briggs Show on Comcast SportsNet airs Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM.  Weekly premiere airings will take place regularly on Tuesday nights at 11:00 PM with repeats to be shown at varied times on Wednesday afternoons.

SPORTSNET CENTRAL: INSIDE THE HUDDLE (featuring Dave Wannstedt) presented by Ankin Law – Debuting Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM and airing every Sunday night at 10:30 PM during the Bears/NFL season, SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle presented by Ankin Law features the in-studio appearance of NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, who will discuss the day’s game in detail and offer his thoughts on what the Bears did right or wrong in that particular’s day’s game.  Plus, the half-hour show will showcase full NFL highlights from all the day’s key match-ups.  In addition, all season long, SportsNet Central’s team of anchors and reporters will provide the very latest Bears/NFL updates nightly at 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM, 10:30 PM and midnight.

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY – Entering its 29th season on television, Pro Football Weekly is a half-hour program hosted by SportsNet Central’s Pat Boyle and features an expert panel led by Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt and PFW founder Hub Arkush.  The program’s in-depth preview analysis and unique format make the show a preferred vehicle for football fans desiring the most thorough coverage of the NFL.  This hard-hitting program features the latest NFL news reports, opinions and insider information.  Pro Football Weekly makes its regular season premiere on Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM with regular weekly debuts airing on Fridays at 4:30 PM while replays can be seen Saturday afternoons/evenings at varied times and Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM.

3 AND OUT – Debuting Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+, NBC Sports Regional Networks’ football analysis and debate program 3 and Out returns for its fourth season on CSN Chicago, which will also air on Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks across the country.  Hosted by CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chick Hernandez, this fast-paced, weekly 30-minute program features hard-hitting opinions via CSN New England host of “Felger & Maz” Michael Felger, along with former Pro Bowlers Brian Mitchell and Bill Romanowski.  For specific weekly air times, fan can check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.      

REAL FANTASY – CSN is known for its award winning NFL analysis.  Now, drawing on their unprecedented local inside access and nationwide via NBC Sports Group resources, CSN brings you the information you need to win your Fantasy Football league with Real Fantasy.  Debuting Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM, Sebastian Salazar of CSN Mid Atlantic, Josh Norris of Rotoworld and Kay Adams of NFL Network draw on CSN and NBC personnel & perspective to bring you information beyond stats and depth charts, letting you know who to sit and who to play, who to keep and who to trade, AND how to WIN week in and week out.  Real Fantasy will air on Friday afternoons throughout the NFL season at varied times; viewers are urged to check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.

CHICAGO HUDDLE – Back for its fourth season on Comcast SportsNet, Chicago Huddle is hosted by former Bears longsnapper/17-year NFL veteran Patrick Mannelly, who will be joined each week by Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman, defensive back Tracy Porter, along with special appearances from other Bears standouts during the season. Taped at Chili’s in Vernon Hills, Chicago Huddle provides fans with an in-depth, weekly Bears review/preview/interview show throughout the entire 2016 campaign.  The season premiere airs on Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM with replay airings at varied times on Saturdays, along with Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM. 

SPORTSTALK LIVE presented by The Chevy Silverado – Comcast SportsNet sets the table with lively sports talk every Monday through Friday night at 5:30 PM on SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado.  Throughout the 2016 NFL season, SportsTalk Live host David Kaplan and a panel of local pro football experts (including former Bears longsnapper Patrick Mannelly every Monday), along with guests from local sports talk radio and national media, will breakdown the games and preview the match-ups that lie ahead for the Bears and other key games from around the NFL.  In addition, SportsTalk Live will also feature a number of special guests from the world of football all season long, including appearances from players, coaches, celebrities and many more.

CSNCHICAGO.COM Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 Bears and NFL coverage all season long via its “Bears Talk” platform featuring the following digital and social media highlights this season:  

  • Bears Pulse a one-stop social media hub that reveals the latest trending topics and player buzz from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Plus, “Bears Pulse” aggregates all Bears player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #BearsTalk.
  • John “Moon” Mullin – CSNChicago.com’s resident Bears “Insider” returns for his eighth season on the beat.  Fans can follow Mullin at Twitter @CSNMoonMullin for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Mullin will also file daily stories/video reports, which include his popular “View from the Moon” segments, and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Bears Pre/Postgame Live, SportsTalk Live and SportsNet Central.
  • CSNChicago.com digital BearsTalk contributor Scott Krinch (@scottiekrinch) and Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) will also be providing game day reports, analysis and features.
  • BearsTalk, presented by Max Madsen – CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Bears news section featuring original commentary, news reports, trades and rumor via contributions from Mullin, Boden, Lewis, and other in-house experts as they lend their knowledge and expertise to the latest happenings in the NFC North, as well as league-wide. BearsTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk and GolfTalkCentral. SportsTalk was extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk and BearsTalk, which contains interactive content and continually updated insights from the network’s digital and on-air talent.
  • FacebookFacebook Live “Bears Warm-up” – A half-hour prior to every edition of Bears Pregame Live, host Chris Boden, along with analysts Alex Brown and Jim Miller, will hold a special Facebook Live segment on CSN Chicago’s official Facebook page: Facebook.com/CSNChicago. Bears fans will have an opportunity to have their questions answered by submitting their game day inquiries via the “comments” section on the live stream.
  • TwitterBears Talk (@CSNBears) is THE Twitter source for Bears breaking news, updates, rumors, trade and much more 24/7.  Fans are encouraged to use #BearsTalk to voice their opinions and interact with CSN reporters and analysts.  Additional must-follow Twitter handles include @CSNBoden (Chris Boden), @CSNkiplewis (Kip Lewis), @15miller (Jim Miller), Alex Brown (@alexbrown96) and @LanceBriggs (Lance Briggs).
  • CSNChicago.com’s Bears content will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including NBCSports.com, NBCNews.com, Yahoo! Sports and Xfinity.com.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet will be airing four, brand new BEARS CLASSICS documentaries this fall/winter.  More specific details and air dates for these specials will be announced separately in the coming weeks.

Breaking down Notre Dame's Week 1 depth chart

Breaking down Notre Dame's Week 1 depth chart

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — We’ve finally reached game week after a long offseason, and with that, Notre Dame released its first unofficial two-deep depth chart of 2016 on Tuesday. A few notes and observations from it:

— Sixth-year graduate student Avery Sebastian is listed as Notre Dame’s starting free safety over freshman Devin Studstill. “Sebastian's had a good camp,” coach Brian Kelly said. “He's been really rock solid.” Kelly sees Sebastian as someone who won’t be prone to mistakes, and he’ll replace dismissed senior Max Redfield even though the more natural in-the-box safety will be playing out of position. 

— Junior Andrew Trumbetti jumped ahead of redshirt sophomore Jay Hayes after Hayes missed a few days of practice due to a high ankle sprain. Hayes had taken most of Notre Dame’s first team reps at weakside defensive end since the end of spring practice, but Kelly said “being out five or six days in a very competitive situation gave Andrew just enough opportunity to take more reps and put himself in a really good position.”

— Three of the four players who were arrested earlier this month but not suspended (RB Dexter Williams, WR Kevin Stepherson, LB Te’von Coney) appeared on the depth chart. Williams will split No. 1 kick return duties with receiver C.J. Sanders, while Stepherson is Torii Hunter’s backup and Coney will be behind Nyles Morgan at Mike linebacker (Kelly said Coney, a natural Will linebacker, has been cross-training at Mike). Ashton White didn’t earn a No. 2 cornerback nod, with those going to sophomore Nick Coleman and freshman Julian Love. All four players are expected to play this Sunday against Texas. 

— There weren’t any surprises on the offensive two-deep. As expected, the No. 1 QB is listed as DeShone Kizer or Malik Zaire, while top running back duties will be split between Tarean Folston and Josh Adams. 

— There are five true freshmen on the defensive two deep: weakside defensive end Daelin Hayes, Sam (outside) linebacker Jamir Jones, cornerback Julian Love, strong safety Jalen Elliott and free safety Devin Studstill. Expect more than just those five freshmen to see snaps this year, too (for example, Kelly said freshman defensive end Julian Okwara will travel with the team to Texas) which underscores how young a lot of Notre Dame’s defensive depth will be this fall. 

Notre Dame’s full depth chart is below (players with "OR" are listed in alphabetical order)

Quarterback
1. DeShone Kizer (RS sophomore) OR Malik Zaire (RS junior)

Running back
1. Josh Adams (sophomore) OR Tarean Folston (RS junior)

W (Boundary) receiver
1. Equanimeous St. Brown (sophomore)
2. Miles Boykin (RS freshman) 

Z (Slot) receiver
1. C.J. Sanders (sophomore)
2. Corey Holmes (RS sophomore)

X (Field) receiver
1. Torii Hunter Jr. (RS junior)
2. Kevin Stepherson (freshman)

Left tackle
1. Mike McGlinchey (RS junior)
2. Hunter Bivin (RS junior)

Left guard
1. Quenton Nelson (RS sophomore)
2. Trevor Ruhland (RS freshman)

Center
1. Sam Mustipher (RS sophomore)
2. Mark Harrell (Graduate student)

Right guard 
1. Colin McGovern (RS junior)
2. Tristen Hoge (RS freshman)

Right tackle
1. Alex Bars (RS sophomore)
2. Tommy Kraemer (freshman)

Weakside defensive end
1. Andrew Trumbetti (junior)
2. Jay Hayes (RS junior) OR Daelin Hayes (freshman)

Strongside defensive end
1. Isaac Rochell (senior)
2. Jonathan Bonner (RS sophomore)

Nose guard
1. Daniel Cage (junior) OR Jarron Jones (Graduate student)

Defensive tackle
1. Jerry Tillery (sophomore)
2. Elijah Taylor (RS freshman)

Sam (outside) linebacker
1. James Onwualu (senior)
2. Jamir Jones (freshman)

Will (inside) linebacker
1. Greer Martini (junior)
2. Asmar Bilal (RS freshman)

Mike (middle) linebacker
1. Nyles Morgan (junior)
2. Te’von Coney (sophomore)

Cornerback 
1. Shaun Crawford (RS freshman)
2. Nick Coleman (sophomore)

1. Cole Luke (senior)
2. Julian Love (freshman)

Strong safety
1. Drue Tranquill (junior)
2. Jalen Elliott (freshman)

Free safety
1. Avery Sebastian (6th-year graduate student)
2. Devin Studstill (freshman)

Kick returner
1. C.J. Sanders (sophomore) OR Dexter Williams (sophomore)

Punt returner 
1. C.J. Sanders (sophomore)
2. Chris Finke (RS freshman)

Holder
1. Montgomery VanGorder (RS sophomore)
2. DeShone Kizer (RS sophomore)

Placekicker
1. Justin Yoon (sophomore)
2. Tyler Newsome (RS sophomore)

Punter
1. Tyler Newsmen (RS sophomore)
2. Jeff Riney (RS freshman)

Long snapper
1. Scott Daly (graduate student)
2. John Shannon (freshman)

Kickoffs
1. Tyler Newsome (RS sophomore)
2. Justin Yoon (sophomore)

Recruiting news and notes: Jeff Thomas in no rush

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Recruiting news and notes: Jeff Thomas in no rush

East St. Louis senior four-star ranked wide receiver Jeff Thomas (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) put on a show in the Flyers' 34-3 win over Providence Catholic in New Lenox.

Thomas, who hauled in 5 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns while also playing defensive back, is still uncommitted and doesn't seem to be in any hurry to make a college choice.

"Everything is the same," Thomas said. "It's all about my team and the season for right now."

Earlier this summer, Thomas listed his top schools as Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State and Missouri. Missouri just added a recent verbal commitment from East St Louis QB Rey Estes and the Tigers many feel could have an advantage in landing Thomas. Missouri has four former East St. Louis Flyers on its current roster.

Deerfield senior three-star ranked defensive end Joshua Maize (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) recently released his list of favorites schools which includes Toledo, UConn, Indiana, Central Michigan, Miami of Ohio and Ball State. Maize however has also been drawing heavy recruiting looks from several other BCS level schools including Purdue, Syracuse, Rutgers, Illinois and Penn State and those schools plan to re-evaluate Maize early this fall. Maize plans to make official visits before making a final college choice and recently said, "my recruiting process is still very open at this time."

[RELATED - Edgy Tim's Top 25 power rankings: Week 2]

One position that is having rough recruiting ride in the Class of 2017? Quarterback. So far just three in-state Class of 2017 signal callers have given BCS level schools a verbal commitments including Jacob's Chris Katernick (Bowling Green), Marian Catholic's Cameron Thomas (Illinois) and Estes (Missouri). So far, the only FCS level in-state known verbal pledge comes from Hinsdale Central's Josh Bean (Columbia). 

This Thursday (Sept. 1st) is a big day in football recruiting circles for the Class of 2018. Thursday is the first day that prospects are allowed per the NCAA to receive recruiting materials (mail) along with unlimited electronic transmissions (text/instant/direct messages) from college coaches. 

"I've stayed in touch with a handful of college coaches and they all said that I would be hearing from them on Thursday," Lake Zurich junior inside linebacker Jack Sanborn said. "It's exciting to hear from those coaches along with hopefully some new schools as well."

Need proof that the recruiting process calendar is getting pushed up earlier and earlier? From my recently-released State of Illinois Class of 2017 Top 60 recruit rankings, 49 out of the 60 recruits have already given schools a verbal commitment. Out of the 11 uncommitted players, I would say nearly half of those players are being held up from giving a verbal commitment because of various academic questions/issues.